top of page
Webpage Headers (1459 × 500 px) (3).jpg

Competition Basics

This competition allows students to showcase their skills in designing energy infrastructure for a new community underpinned by affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy. Below you will find a downloadable link to a PDF file for all information about competition.

Framing Your

Teams are challenged to design the energy infrastructure of communities that meet these challenges using a first-principle, interdisciplinary, and integrative design approach.  Click the link below for valuable information from our competition creators to help guide your efforts. 


We understand that this competition presents an opportunity for you to develop and learn new ideas.  As such, our competition committee has created a location for you to ask questions and guide you along the way toward helping with design ideas and competition outlines.


A curated list of reference materials, inspirations, and links by Energy Mentors with suggestions from
our many (and sometimes “silent”) collaborators.  The Organizing Committee provides this document as a resource for competing teams.

Competition Timeline

Blue Modern Company History Timeline Infographic (2).png

Purpose of the compeition

The "Power the Community" design competition aims to inspire innovative approaches to energy infrastructure in new communities by a rising generation of professionals.  Our goal is to improve the quality of life for residents, promote sustainability, and advance energy access and prosperity for all.

The energy infrastructure we build today will shape our communities' energy consumption and carbon footprint for decades.  Some master-planned communities in places like Houston, Texas, have energy systems that date back to a half-century ago, which raises questions about their effectiveness and efficiency.  

  • Can we improve the way we build and power our communities? 

  • Can we avoid the need to retrofit new homes with solar panels?  

  • Can we take a first-principles approach to community energy infrastructure design? 

By stimulating the minds of energy professionals, we hope to catalyze new approaches to energy infrastructure that will benefit communities worldwide for decades to come.

The Design Challenge

The "Power the Community" design competition challenges student teams worldwide to design a livable community for 2,000 or more families. To succeed in this challenge, teams must take an integrative, cross-disciplinary approach to community infrastructure and housing design, focusing on achieving great living underpinned by affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy supply. 

The competition is about integrating innovative approaches to energy and energy infrastructure at the community level. The scope includes how the community accesses energy sources, their distribution, and how families use energy in their homes. 

The competition also requires designing a prototypical residence that exemplifies the community's energy and sustainability practices in daily living. The residence should be affordable, energy-efficient, sustainable, and meet the local community's needs.

Additionally, teams can consider aspects of community planning, such as people transportation, water, and waste management, public spaces, etc.. Still, the primary focus should be energy use and infrastructure during daily living in the planned community.

Architecture Illustration
Business Team At Work

Team Eligibility

  • Teams may form ad hoc and need not be officially sponsored by a university, or their university can sponsor them. 

  • Each team should have a team name and indicate their location, such as their university.

  • Teams can decide on the number of teammates themselves. 

  • Team members may include undergraduate students, graduate students, and persons who are not degree candidates. 

  • Teams may draw on the knowledge and advice from any resources they wish. However, faculty and working professionals should not contribute to directly producing results and deliverables.


For every ten to twelve submissions, a panel of up to five judges will be assigned to evaluate the entries. The panel will consist of one lead judge and up to four other judges. 

If there are more than a dozen submissions, the entries will be divided into “regions” of up to a dozen submissions each.

  • Each region will have several entries to be “promoted” to the finals.

  • A preliminary round of judging will take place in each region, and the votes of all judges will be considered equal. 

  • Energy Mentors board members and employees are not allowed to be judges. 

The lead judge will consolidate feedback from the judges and provide summary comments to each team, including: 

  • One or more citations of “strong elements” identified by at least two judges. 

  • If applicable, one or more “Questions or Suggestions” as identified by at least two judges.

  • If applicable, one or more citations of “Awesome” features or approaches as identified by at least two judges.

If regional judging is used, the promotion of designs to the finals will be decided by a majority vote.

In the finals, a new panel of five judges will evaluate the original submissions of the promoted designs and, if applicable, the summary comments from the regional judging. The grand prize-winning design will be decided by a majority vote.

Submission Guidelines

  • The community should be designed for approximately 2000 or more families. 

  • A typical family consists of around four people, plus or minus.

  • While the community could have a full range of income and assets, the target family should be able to afford housing and living expenses based on two employed adults: one being a nurse in a large hospital and the other a high school teacher. 

  • Consider that a typical family may have two young children, plus or minus, who could be of different genders and who will live in the housing unit from birth through high school. 

  • All components of the conceptual design must be available for purchase from worldwide sourcing as of the competition submission deadline.

  • The community design should consider access to food/groceries, drug, and other retail stores, manufacturing, offices, medical care, social meeting spaces, recreation, places of worship, etc. Such need not be provided within the new community, and if not, the design should consider people and supply chain flow.

School Application
Research Team


Your design submission should include the following deliverables:

  • Geolocation of your design to an actual parcel of land that can be developed into a community.

  • A statement of the most important needs of the community supported by references.

  • A typical housing unit design.

  • A community design and layout with a focus on energy flows and infrastructure.

  • Benchmarks of your choosing comparing your community versus other communities and populations in the region.

  • Engineering/architectural and economic calculations and renderings of your choosing that depict and support the design and its performance.

  • A “pitch video” of about 10 -12 minutes (max 15 minutes).

  • All deliverables should be in formats readily viewable in the public domain and/or mass-market software (Microsoft, Google, Adobe, etc.).  Submitting photos and/or videos are okay if you create a physical or virtual 3D model.

  • A link can be provided to the pitch video on a publicly accessible site (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, etc.).

Untitled design (18).png

The Prize and Rewards

The winning team will receive the first “Energy Innovators Award” by Energy Mentors and a grand prize of $10,000 USD, to be split equally among the registered team participants, wired to an account of the team member’s choice.

Every member of every team that submits a design will have the opportunity to showcase their skills and creativity to a panel of industry experts. Participating in this competition will gain invaluable experience and insight into the energy industry and the latest trends and innovations. 

In addition, you will have the opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals and potentially form valuable professional relationships. 


The prize money may be a motivating factor, but the actual value of this competition lies in the opportunity to gain experience, showcase your skills, and connect with industry experts.

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” 

Arthur Ashe

Expression of Intrest/Pre-Registration

How To Enter

We welcome all university and graduate students interested in the energy industry to participate in this competition, regardless of whether you believe your team will win. To enter, complete the registration form to the left, and a competition organizer will contact you at our earliest convenience. 

By joining this competition, you can develop new skills and knowledge, collaborate with others, and potentially form lasting professional connections.  We are excited to see your innovative ideas and designs and can't wait to receive your entries!

bottom of page